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i76                  HISTORY OF PERSIA             CHAP. LVI
Assassins and of the Caliphs. Shortly afterwards died
Dokuz Khatun, his chief wife, who as a member of the
Kerait tribe was a Nestorian Christian, and to whose
influence it. was due that Hulagu protected Christians.
Indeed so far did this protection go that in A.D. 1260
Hulagu received a letter from the Pope expressing the
Sovereign Pontiffs joy at hearing that he was disposed
to adopt the Catholic faith.
Of the character of Hulagu little that is good is
known. He was certainly as cruel and as false as others
of his race, and he appears to have been addicted to
pleasure. Had he found a strong Caliph ruling at
Baghdad, it seems probable that his hordes, lacking a
leader, would have been beaten back ; but he was fortunate
in having to deal with weak and incapable men both at
Alamut and at Baghdad,, and it is mainly owing to this
personal accident that Hulagu Khan, the founder of a
dynasty in Persia, is known to fame as a conqueror who
profoundly affected the course of the world's history.